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Taking on a "Risky" Hire

Taking on a "Risky" Hire

Alison Green | Ask A Manager

A reader writes:

I recently received a job offer from the HR person of the company that I interviewed with. She said “they are taking a risk in hiring me and offering me the job.” I thought it was a strange statement.

When the managers in that company discuss me, they can say “OK, let’s take a risk and hire this person.” But would a HR make that statement to a candidate when offering the job?

I think it is a negotiation tactic so that I won’t ask for a higher salary, work my ass off to prove I am not a risky person, and don’t ask for raise for a couple of years.

What is your opinion? Interested to know.

It’s one of two things. Either it’s a negotiation tactic, like you suspect, designed to make you not ask for more money, or it’s an awkward attempt at a compliment. I can think of a couple of times when I’ve said to a candidate who knew her experience was on the light side, “We had candidates with more experience than you, but ultimately we were really impressed with your ____ and think you would excel in the job.” It’s possible that the HR person was going for something like that and screwed up the delivery.

On the other hand, do you think you’re a risk? If it’s clear that you’re not the traditional ideal candidate for the role but you pushed for them to take a risk on a new approach, then maybe she was just acknowledging that. But if that were the case, you probably wouldn’t be asking me.

And frankly, the reality is that every hire is a risk to one degree or another. People can blow you away in an interview and then crash and burn once on the job. But hiring managers don’t normally feel the need to remind candidates of that when making an offer.

Did You Know About These 10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary?